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Reno Roadblocks: 9 Things That Can Stall Your Renovation

Posted July 15, 2019

If you’re thinking of renovating, beware of the reno roadblocks that can slow down or stall your project. It happens easier than you might think, but being prepared can go a long way toward ensuring your renovation is carried out smoothly and with few bumps in the road.

Planning, of course, is key. But even when you think you may have checked off that box, there are obstacles that can end up in your way.

Here are 9 things that can trip you up and how to avoid or minimize them, where you can.

#1: Your budget

Not being realistic with your budget, or not being aware of costs, can create issues early in the process. It’s important to take the time well before you begin to get a good idea of what your project might cost. Expecting to blow out walls and create a gourmet kitchen for just a few thousand dollars, for instance, is going to lead to some nasty shocks.

Our Project Coordinators can help you determine what’s realistic, but it’s a good idea to have done some initial research beforehand to make sure you can even afford to consider the type of renovation you want.

#2: What will fit

Not being realistic about space constraints can also stall a renovation. You may want three-foot-wide hallways or to create multiple rooms where there is currently one, but if it’s just not going to work in the space you’ve got available, you have to be prepared for that, particularly if an addition is not a feasible option. Speaking with a qualified designer will help educate you on the constraints and what is and isn’t to code.

#3: The details

If you don’t figure out the details beforehand, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the number of decisions that need to be made concerning choosing features and finishes and making those decisions on a deadline in order to meet your construction schedule.

That’s why it’s important to determine as many of these details early. In some cases, the features and finishes you want also require lots of time to order and make, which means choosing them at the last minute may not be an option. A standard kitchen has about 30 selections.

It’s also important to be clear about exactly what you want. Being on the fence about something is fine, but you need to have firm decisions before demolition.

#4: Hidden obstacles

One of the truths about renovating is that you never know what’s behind the walls until you open them up. You hope for the best, but need to plan for the worst, because there are often unforeseen circumstances on site once demolition has begun.

Maybe it’s faulty wiring or structural issues or bad plumbing. Either way, it can create unexpected delays. And once walls are opened up, a renovator is required to fix any unsafe issues and code violations that are observed.


#5: Site conditions

Where you live can also create roadblocks when it comes to renovating, particularly if you’re changing the home’s footprint. Rocky soils or rock outcrops in certain neighbourhoods (think Britannia and Kanata Lakes) can present a challenge that will slow things down.

#6: Re-purposing

The trend toward reducing, re-using and recycling is one we’re all in favour of (and practice here at Amsted) and wanting to re-use a lot of your materials is commendable, however, doing so isn’t necessarily cheaper and sometimes it just can’t be done.
If the piece is an heirloom or has sentimental value, then it may be worth spending the extra few dollars to preserve and integrate into the new design.

#7: Specialties

One of the wonderful elements of a renovation can be the opportunity to include unusual or unique features, like a custom metal staircase. These types of features can make a great statement in your home, be prepared to have to wait for them. Specialty trades — and even trades that are more common but are in high demand — can wreak havoc with a project’s timelines.

#8: The city

Almost all renovations require a permit from the city before work can begin, and waiting for one can slow down a project. Amsted is well-versed in navigating the city bureaucracy to minimize delays, but they can still happen.

Time is also required if zoning changes are needed for a project as there is a whole process to go through with the city before a request is granted.

#9: The weather

This is one we cannot control, and extreme weather conditions can force unexpected delays on a project. In some cases, the weather may make it unsafe for workers; in other cases, it may result in construction materials that fail or perform poorly because they were installed in conditions that were not ideal.